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Old 01-28-2009, 01:18 PM   #1
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1971 31' Sovereign
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Somewhat of an emergency- Stuck in Airstream!

Hello, I've been stuck in my 1971 31' Airstream for the past 6 hours. I'm up in Northwest Arkansas where we had all the ice storms, so none of my friends can come and get me out of this thing until the trees are cleared out of the road and things melt a bit.

Anyhow, the door seemed to freeze shut, and I couldn't get my Airstream door to open. The door handle gave a lot of resistance at first, then the door handle moved up, and now it gives NO resistance at all, just seemingly loose. (Normally you feel some spring tension.)

At any rate, I need to get out of here so I can swap my propane tanks so I don't freeze. If things get *REALLY* bad, I will cut the screen on one of the windows and crawl through, but I don't want to damage anything if I don't have to.

I looked at removing the screens, and I have a phillips head to unscrew all the parts, except for the part where you lift the window, there is the little handle. That has to come off, and I don't have a screwdriver small enough inside my Airstream trailer to unscrew it.

There doesn't seem to be any way to access the lock mechanism from inside the Airstream. I'm pretty sure it's the lock/latch mechanism, as the door offers no resistance on other parts, except where the latch is. (Door bends out in other areas when pressure is applied.)

Also, I am off-grid, so I do not have access to 110v power, I run off of 12v power via solar panels (even if I did, I suspect it would be offline due to the downed power lines and trees,) and I have a small amount of propane left in a small catalytic heater. (Enough for probably 30 minutes or so, I suspect.) I still have propane for cooking, at least until that tank runs out, as I've been running on one tank for a while, and it was low last time I could check it.


Help!

Much thanks in advance. I will check by here every hour or so.

Also, apologies for posting in such a broad area. Moderators, please move this to an appropriate area after a day or so has passed if it is necessary.

Thanks,
Durandal
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:24 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durandal View Post
Hello, I've been stuck in my 1971 31' Airstream for the past 6 hours. I'm up in Northwest Arkansas where we had all the ice storms, so none of my friends can come and get me out of this thing until the trees are cleared out of the road and things melt a bit.

Anyhow, the door seemed to freeze shut, and I couldn't get my Airstream door to open. The door handle gave a lot of resistance at first, then the door handle moved up, and now it gives NO resistance at all, just seemingly loose. (Normally you feel some spring tension.)

At any rate, I need to get out of here so I can swap my propane tanks so I don't freeze. If things get *REALLY* bad, I will cut the screen on one of the windows and crawl through, but I don't want to damage anything if I don't have to.

I looked at removing the screens, and I have a phillips head to unscrew all the parts, except for the part where you lift the window, there is the little handle. That has to come off, and I don't have a screwdriver small enough inside my Airstream trailer to unscrew it.

There doesn't seem to be any way to access the lock mechanism from inside the Airstream. I'm pretty sure it's the lock/latch mechanism, as the door offers no resistance on other parts, except where the latch is. (Door bends out in other areas when pressure is applied.)

Also, I am off-grid, so I do not have access to 110v power, I run off of 12v power via solar panels (even if I did, I suspect it would be offline due to the downed power lines and trees,) and I have a small amount of propane left in a small catalytic heater. (Enough for probably 30 minutes or so, I suspect.) I still have propane for cooking, at least until that tank runs out, as I've been running on one tank for a while, and it was low last time I could check it.


Help!

Much thanks in advance. I will check by here every hour or so.

Also, apologies for posting in such a broad area. Moderators, please move this to an appropriate area after a day or so has passed if it is necessary.

Thanks,
Durandal
It sounds like the inner part of the lock is broken, which is not uncommon.

You don't need any tools to get out of the trailer.

Locate the "bead" that holds the screening in place. It's gray in color.

Pull it away from the screen material. Then simply move the screening out of place, open the window and try the door from the outside.

If not, climb thru the open window.

OR, just push the screen material out, then try the door lock.

Andy
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:25 PM   #3
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That's terrible do you have gps coordinates, or can you call the police or a lock service?

My husband is towing today it was dicey through Lansing Michigan but as he is getting nearer to Indiana the roads are getting better.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:30 PM   #4
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What kind of lock does you 71 have? I have been trapped inside my Trade Wind when the Bargman broke, but it's a 67. Where in Northwest Arkansas are you. Hensley is close to where I live and still in Pulaski County.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:37 PM   #5
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Rear Window should be an exit..

The back window is usually an emergency exit, designed as second escape route. As Andy said, you don't need to cut screen if you pull gray cord or beading (about 1/8th inch in diameter, running in groove around edge of screen), and then remove screen. That back window may have ice holding it down also, but it should be large enough to get through and get out...
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:40 PM   #6
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Andy,

I will try the screen "bead" suggestion you gave. I will follow up after I've attempted it.

Carol,
Well, if necessary, I can crawl out the window and then hop in my Subaru, and hopefully with Andy's suggestion, I'll be OK.

Vaughan,
Hensley is my mailing address, but I'm actually up near Fayetteville, AR. (Patrick, AR to be more precise.)

I will try the screen suggestion and post back soon. Thanks for the prompt replies, everyone.

Took a photo of the lock with my cellphone. Will upload as soon as I can.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:53 PM   #7
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Man, that sucks! I was frozen in mine yesterday from the same storm. The handle worked but I had to put some force on the door to get it open. Good luck!
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:53 PM   #8
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Best of luck!!! I only live about 12 miles from Hensley, so i could have been some help if you were there.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:57 PM   #9
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I'm Free!

I climbed out the back window using Andy's suggestion. Now I just have to figure out how to fix the door latch well enough to where I can close it and not have to climb out the window again for exit. (Although it's not too bad.)

Thanks for everybody's expedient replies! I didn't figure that I could remove the screen without cutting it.
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:44 PM   #10
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1971 31' Sovereign
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Now that I'm out, I was able to switch propane tanks so I don't freeze tonight, and also fired up my car with jumper cables to charge up the Airstream's batteries. (I know it's not good to use an alternator on deep cycle batteries too often.) Anyhow, I suppose there are topics on here how to repair the latch so that it works from the inside and not just the outside. Once again, thanks for the prompt responses. I wish everyone well.
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:45 PM   #11
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So glad that all ended well! Now I don't have to feel guilty about having my first real laugh of the day ... now, back to shoveling snow ...
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durandal View Post
I climbed out the back window using Andy's suggestion. Now I just have to figure out how to fix the door latch well enough to where I can close it and not have to climb out the window again for exit. (Although it's not too bad.)

Thanks for everybody's expedient replies! I didn't figure that I could remove the screen without cutting it.
Glad you are free, that was quite a problem!! Hope you get the door to work. I had a Pinto once that I had to crawl in and and out of the back hatch, once the doors stopped working...
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:54 PM   #13
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:44 PM   #14
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Carol, Can't believe you had a Pinto. My sister had one in 1972 and she parked under some pine trees in Charlotte and got so may roaches in it we had to put a bug bomb in it. LOL
So glad you got out-that was really tense for awhile.
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